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 Post subject: ST: Night Raid
PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 4:11 pm 



Joined: 25 Jan 2005
Posts: 2835
INDEX OF CONTENTS

0.0 WELCOME TO NIGHTMARE: THE SAD STORY OF NIGHT RAID
0.1. SOME NOTES ON THE PORT
1.0 BASIC MECHANICS
1.1 SHOT
1.2 BOMB
1.3 HUG LAUNCHER
1.4 CONTROLS AND HITBOX
2.0 ADVANCED MECHANICS
2.1 THE THERMOMETRE
2.2 EOS AND OTHER BONUSES
2.3 A GUIDE TO CHAINING
2.4 STAGE GUIDE
2.5.2 STAGE 1
2.5.2 STAGE 2
2.5.3 STAGE 3
2.5.4 STAGE 4
2.5.5 STAGE 5
2.5.6 STAGE 6
3.0 TIPS, TRICKS AND ODDITIES

0.0 WELCOME TO NIGHTMARE: THE SAD STORY OF NIGHT RAID

Night Raid is a shmup produced by Takumi and published by Taito, on G.Net hardware.According to some rumours i've found around the internet, the game has been produced as a rush job, with Taito pushing for another two titles with wiggling-based gameplay (XII Stag and Night Raid) along Psyvariar revision.Given this premise, it shouldn't surprise that the game itself looks a bit rough on the edges and has a few gameplay issues (Some sections have unmotivated slowdown, as there are a few objects and the game slows down). Beside that, its arcade success was somewhat limited, with a cheap port to round up the sales. How this port is?

0.1 SOME NOTES ON THE PORT

As the game (surprisingly) had a very moderate success (there's even a replay video floating around...), Takumi decided to make a very cheap (in development, not in cost) port: i say cheap, because it basically has two features, the normal game and a score attack mode (that plays like the normal mode with "very hard"). You can choose the colour of your plane, there's not Tag mode (like the G.net counterpart) and there's no pause function.It sounds more like an error than anything, but the lack of a pause function is still hilarious...at any case, there is also a Night Raid soundtrack, which features the excellent OST of the game, and can be usually had for cheap, for instance cocoebiz should sell it at about 20$.The interesting extra in the PS1 port is the second demo, very well done and evocative of the bizarre world you fight in (Basically you're a virus that has to "fry" the mainframe behind the Matrix-like nightmarish world). On with the game, then.

1.0 BASIC MECHANICS

In this section i will cover the usual basic things regarding your attacks.Let's see our options,then.

1.1 SHOT

Your standard attack, it can be powered-up three times with the orange cubes, then holding down the shot button will cause the attack to sweep the screen from and to the sides (up to 90° on your side).This means that you will need to tap or to point-blank enemies when at max power.Extra power-ups are worth points, and a lot after a while: i will cover this mechanic in section 2.0

1.2 BOMB

A circular spreading blast,its damage also weakens when spreading.Also, it makes the ship immediately invincible.One important thing is, if used for damaging purposes (i.e. bombing boss to take them down quickly) it's important to point-blank them, to deal the maximum possible damage.The bombs in stock are the green dots above the the hug launcher bar.

1.3 HUG LAUNCHER

The peculiar aspect of this game is the special attack: the hug launcher (no, i don't know what they mean).When pushing C, the ship will freeze on place and a doppelganger made of energy will be literally thrown against the enemies.If it hits an adversary before the bar is depleted (lower left corner), it will start bouncing around.

The movement is not casual: the hug launcher will bounce following the standard principles of physics, so if it hits frontally an enemy, it will bounce back in the same direction.If it hits an enemy on its side, it will bounce to a varying angle and direction, according to enemy's hit part.Same discourse must be done for enemies' direction: in short, the bouncing direction is ruled by some vectorial calculus principle, or they work more or less like pool.Aside that, the hug launcher can be controlled with the joystick, but this can be pretty tricky.Also, the C button can be held down, in order to delay the chain, but this will consume energy: it's always better to quickly hit the right enemy for the chain.

While hitting enemies around with the hug launcher, the ship will be invicible and frozen on place: also, all bullets hit by the hug launcher will be converted into items and, eventually, collected for the termometre. Let's get back to the hug launcher's control: when the hug launcher moves around, it consumes energy, and will automatically go back at the end of the bar.If it hits an enemy, it will partially replenish the bar: half a bar for hits 1-10, one third for hits 11-20, 1/4 for hits 20+. Hits, of course, are the amount of hits on enemies, and will be determining for your chain and your score.In case, the hug launcher can bounce off walls, which can be useful to keep the chain going, if of course the energy doesn't get completely depleted.

I'll cover these aspects in section 2.0,for the moment this is enough regarding the hug launcher.Final mechanic: the hug launcher deals a lot of damage, on bosses you should use it to clean patterns and deal damage!

1.4 CONTROLS AND HITBOX

A few words about the controls: apparently, the controls are a bit floaty on PS2, but i haven't any experiences of floatyness with the game when playing on PS1.Beside that, the hitbox is the tiny circular form radianting at the centre of the ship when the doppelganger roams around, and only bullets can damage you, collisions are unharmful.

At this point, let's switch to the advanced mechanics.

2.0 ADVANCED MECHANICS

I will cover,in this section, a number of mechanics that are basically score-centered, and i will explain how to deal with stages.Let's start immediately with...

2.1 THE THERMOMETRE

This game, albeit has somewhat of a rough gameplay (i.e. some small issues could have been better), is still interesting and somewhat creative.The basic notion you should take in consideration is the termometre: on your left side, there is a bar that tells you you score "temperature". In practice, when you collect items released from enemies, you will receive a bonus: if you let them go outside the screen, it will become a malus.This means that, starting from 0, if you collect 4 bonus at their peak value (+5, at the top of the screen) you will go to +20 "hot" temperature (i.e. you will have a multiplier of x20 to your score).If you let them go outside the screen, they will become a malus, in this case a -40 (it's always -10 for a missed item). This means that your score will be multiplied by -40, and thus it will be actually detracted from your total!

One interesting thing is that the game has three different score-charts, one for positive scores, one for negative ones, and one for near-zero ones.The first two are obvious, how the third one works?Simple, you have to mix both approaches (go for positive score, then for negative,etc) to get the closest score to 0.Neat, isn't it? In case you can have a lot of items on screen, also, you can trigger a giga wing 2-like effect, i.e. you can transform all items into bizarre objects (food, eyes, skulls) and every object is worth 10k points.It also triggers an automatic +100 to your termometre, without any penalities if they fall outside, for roughly 4 seconds (and 10k*100=1M per item).Last but not least, the termometre will cool off (i.e. the multiplier will switch to zero) slowly, when not collecting items. The other important aspects of the scoring system are bonuses and chains, let's see them.

2.2 EOS AND OTHER BONUSES

A quick note on EOS (End Of Stage) and other bonuses, before we move to chaining. The only important thing about the EOS is to quickly destroy the bosses and do it with the right chain: this in order to have the multiplier maxed-out, as the EOS is:

remaining seconds*10k*multiplier

and the bosses are also worth a lot, especially if destroyed with a high hit value. Another thing worth mentioning are extra power-ups: at full power, an extra power-up is worth

10k*number of extra power-ups taken*multiplier

And this means that they are quite worthy, at some point.If you die, the "taken" value will reset.Also, basic items are worth 10 points each, so you will also get a few points when cleaning the screen off their presence.
Said this, let's finally talk about the chains.

2.3 A GUIDE TO CHAINING

Albeit a bit rough in its basic idea, chaining in this game is based on hitting stuff with the hug launcher.As you can guess from section 1.3, keeping a chain going above the 20 hits is difficult, but that's also the key for big scores. Why? Because every hit will basically trigger a multiplier on your score, which follows this principle:

1-5 hits: x10
6-10 hits: x100
11-15 hits: x1k
16-20 hits: x10k
21+ hits: x100k

This means that every hit above the 20th, if you're also on the max multiplier, is worth 10M!This score, though, substitutes for the basic value of a destroyed enemy: considering that most of them have a low value, you will quickly realize that the most important thing are chains.

Once you can learn to chain properly, let's see how to approach stages,

2.4 A GUIDE TO STAGES

The core aspect of this game is finding the few right spots to pull off 20+ chains, which are a few per stage.For other places, all that matters is getting good chains around and destroying quickly the mid-bosses, or exploiting them for chains.I'm putting the temptative score per stage between parenthes, at any case.Before contuining, also, let's keep in mind that point-blanking pop-corn enemies during slow sections is a good way to keep the multiplier high, but be careful when doing this, of course.On bosses, also, the best thing is taking them down with a chain or an hug launcher hit, so a pattern will be cancelled, all bullets transformed into items and thus the multiplier maxed out.Finally,this guide is for a "hot" score, but you can simply do the same things while avoiding items to get a cool score...mixing the two things should yield a near zero score, but that's the trickiest thing. Let's see how to deal with stages.

2.4.1 STAGE 1 (400M).

There are only 4 possible long chains here, and those are:

1. a 25+ chain just before the mid-boss, when you have the two power-up carriers and the big ships.If you can start from any point here and chain into the moving pop-corn enemies, it's ok.
2.Mid-boss: Damage it a lot, then wait until 4-5 seconds to have the small enemies from the left.Start chaining with them and the doppelganger should easily rack up 25+ hits.
3. The leaf-like enemy: don't destroy it, let it go away and start the chain off him when the triangle-shaped enemies start appearing.
4.The phase before the boss: you should be able to pull off a couple of 25+ chains on this phase by simply starting the chain from upper enemies, it's pretty free-style.

- Boss -

Well, it is that simple: damage it a lot (down to a small bit of energy, you may use the hug launcher when there aren't any drones on screen), then start chaining with the drones (max 10 hits), a good time is about 28 seconds.

2.4.2 STAGE 2 (600M).

This stage only has 3 chains above 25 hits, and they're all located at the end of the stage, based on the sponge-like enemies.Basically, it's: let have the big carriers appear-skyrocket the hit counter with chains-take down the big carriers. Rest of the stage is good for smaller chains (very free-style, so improvise a bit), and for the high amount of power-ups to take.

- Boss -

There's a meaty but difficult chain with the boss' tentacles: basically, let it be roughly in front of you (from a perspective point of view) and then use the hug launcher, you should be able to nail a 20 to 25 chain off it.For the rest, take it down quickly, 24 seconds is good.

2.4.3 STAGE 3 (1B)

First, one of the first power-up carriers has a bomb (green cube), take it!
There are a lot of good opportunities here:
1. At the beginning, the enemies moving in circles.Let the formations overlap and chain.
2. Let the screen fill with enemies and chain after those.
3.The pseudo-midboss: if you start from the core and chain onto the two snakes surrounding it, you can pull off up to 4 25+ chains.
4.The iceberg section: tricky, don't shoot when not chaining, but you may get 2 25+ chains by having the chain moving a lot (left to right and viceversa), wiggle a lot.
5.The enemies from the pods: if you wait a bit, it will be easy to chain one formation to the other.This trick can be repeated three times.
6.The shield-like pods: wait for the first formation to stay low, then chain and wiggle against the second formation, repeat.

- Boss -

In theory, there could be a number of small chains done by bouncing the doppel ganger back and forth the boss and the enemies: in practice, take it down quickly, at about 25 seconds.

2.4.4 STAGE 4 (1B)

Difficult stage for score.
1.Wait for the pod-infested discs to appear, once you have one moving out and the second one incoming, you may nail a 25+ chain. Two opportunities before the first mid-boss.
2.First mid-boss: shoot it and damage it to a small amount of energy: down to 3 seconds, it will start moving away and enemies enter the stage, place here a long chain (25+).
3. The difficult part: wait for at least 2 violet barges to be on screen and then chain, it's easy to get a lot of hits (25+ seem almost automatic) but once the chain is over, you should take down at least one barge, else the stage will be too overcrowed.If you can manage the amount of barges on screen, you can easily do 5 25+ chains.
4.The second mid-boss: same principle as the first, at 3 seconds, you can pull off another 25+ chain, but be careful to bullet-spam if you blow it.

- Boss -

Take it down as quickly (28 seconds) as possible, one good thing is a bomb when it will make the fast spam attack (second pattern): use the hug launcher to close in (i.e. go near the boss, use the hug launcher to cancel bullets and deal damage, bomb at point blank and retreat to refill the energy bar).

2.4.5 STAGE 5 (1,8B)

Another relatively free-style stage, what's fundamental here is to wait for te stage to get crowded and focus on the pink spheres or the cube-like enemies to start big chains. There's no real need for a guide since most sections are downright easy to chain (but survival may be tricky when not chaining, as it also gets full of bullets), and more importantly, it's easy to pull off 25+ chains, with some practice.

- Boss -

Tricky bastard: stay in front of him (so the hole in the pattern is easy to see) and hug-launch and shoot a lot.Once the second form is triggered, hug-launch it twice, then point-blank it with a bomb and hug-launch it a third time, it should go down quickly (32 seconds).

2.4.6 STAGE 6 (1,4B)

The final boss: you have 4 chains on the first form, based on shooting a pod and then hitting the pod and the boss.After these four chains (i.e. after destroying the pods), trigger the second form and chain with the pods until the boss times out, as the pods are indistructible and they can also warrant long chains. Bomb to defend your ass, in case.

Finally...

3.0 TIPS, TRICKS AND ODDITIES

The game seems to have been a sort of rush job, as it was published shortly after Takumi moving back with Taito.
The port is by Takumi only, and as i said, lacks the pause function: apparently, it also has floaty controls, at least on PS2.
You can choose three colours for your ship: Blue, Red and Green.Notice a a oattern...?
The score attack mode has the patterns taken from the very hard difficulty, pretty nastier if compared to the normal version.
The original arcade form had the possibility to play in tag team, and slightly sharper graphics (G.Net game).
This is second game with Taito, after 7 years of hiatus and the "reflect force" with Capcom.
The second demo has sound effects recycled by Giga Wing 2 and Mars Matrix.

That's it then, have fun!
_________________
Chomsky, Buckminster Fuller, Yunus and Glass would have played Battle Garegga, for sure.


Last edited by Randorama on Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 8:50 pm 


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Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Posts: 2978
Location: Kansas
Just a couple of questions, Rando. Does the hug launcher have some sort of damage scaling, or are boss lifebars scaled? I'm not quite certain, but I could have sworn that the hug launcher took off about 1/3 of the Stage 1 midboss on the first hit, but on the second hit, barely did any damage. For the second hit the launcher bounced off of enemies and back onto the boss. It seems like if the launcher has only a single target, it does more damage.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:37 am 



Joined: 25 Jan 2005
Posts: 2835
The latter.One hit makes a lot of damage, or the first hit in general.Multiple hits don't do much damage, i don't really know the exact value but, except for mid-bosses, 3 hits should be enough to destroy all bigger enemies. One thing, i'm putting one small edit regarding the hug launcher: in case, you can make it bounce against the borders of the screen, but of course it consumes energy by travelling around... That's why in some cases the hit count raises apparently without reason, the hug-launcher gets cornered between walls and an enemy.
_________________
Chomsky, Buckminster Fuller, Yunus and Glass would have played Battle Garegga, for sure.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 10:52 pm 


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Joined: 28 Jan 2005
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Location: Kansas
Out of curiosity, how do you handle the stage 3 midboss. The one that looks like a pyramid surrounded by orbiting rocks. I believe this is the one you refer to as the snakes. I can get the hug launcher to combo like a pinball on crack, but I can rarely take the thing down before it leaves the screen. I ask because that's the only part of stage 3 that forces me to use a bomb or likely die.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2005 10:11 am 



Joined: 25 Jan 2005
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The best tactic i found is to to stay on one side and chain, usually the central pyramid will shoot a couple of bullets (three streams) trying to catch you off-guard.As long as you can side step those attacks and chain (easier from one side, a bit more to the centre than the corners), it should be easy.The pyramid can be destroyed with one powerful hit once the serpents go away (they can't be destroyed, to my knowledge), be careful on its last attack of course.I hope it suffices :?
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Chomsky, Buckminster Fuller, Yunus and Glass would have played Battle Garegga, for sure.


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